We love books! Daddy and I have always had a full selection of books in the house and are always in need of a new bookcase. So, naturally, we wanted to share books with Q-ball. In fact, the theme of Q-ball's baby shower was books! While we read to Q-ball from her birth, she did not begin to show her true interest in reading until about 11 months. Since that time, she reads far more than Mama and Daddy!
Within Q-ball's current space are two shelves full of books. I had debated putting out so many, but she always seems interested and is able to "clean up" with some reminders, so I leave the bulk of our board books available. We do, however, rotate books from the library in and out to introduce new topics and to prevent constant repetitiveness (for Mama and Q-ball!).
However, I recently realized that I had not researched Dr. Montessori's thoughts on books for infants and toddlers. The goal of reading to this age group, according to Montessori experts, is to introduce new vocabulary words, model the use of books, and to foster a connection between caregiver and child through reading.
Here are some of the tips I found for creating your own Montessori-inspired library:
|Reading with her uncle|
- Board books are best for this young age. But, high-quality children's book with regular pages and dust covers should also be introduced to the child with an adult's supervision.
- Books should be easily accessible to children in a basket or low shelf. Special books, however, should be stored away from the child and only brought out when they are read.
- Proper care and respect of books should be modeled to children- how to turn the pages, how to hold the book, and how to return the book to its location.
- As toddlers are actively looking to learn new words, books can be used to extend their vocabulary. These books should have simple, large images matching the words with the pictures.
- As with toys, children should have access to favorite books, but there should also be a rotation of new books to keep children engaged. Only a few books should be available to a child at any given time. (To see the science behind this, check out this Science Friday.)
- When reading to a child, make sure that you are interested! A child's love of books will come when it is modeled by his role models. Likewise, ensure your child sees you reading for your own pleasure.
- Topics and pictures in books should represent a variety of cultures and topics.
- Books should stay focused on reality and shy away from topics of animals that talk and sing. Young toddlers are still working to figure out our real, everyday world, and fantasy stories can confuse them. I must say these can be harder to find in board books! But, I like this quote from Micheal Olaf's site about the importance of this.
We should check that they [books] present reality, since at this age children are trying to make sense of the environment and the life around them. There is nothing more extraordinary and interesting than our own daily life. Fantasy can come later—after reality has been experienced and absorbed.—Dr. Silvana Montanaro
Based upon this research, I'm going to make a few changes. For one thing, I'm packing away many of the books we have out. I have out way too many right now! And, I want to start reading more of the "special" books with Q-ball to ensure she knows how to care for these books as well.
Does your child love reading? What does reading look like at your house?
Olaf, M. (2010). The joyful child. Montessori from birth to three. Retrieved from http://www.michaelolaf.net/1JC13language.html.
Lillard, P.P. & Jessen, L.L. (2003). Montessori from the start: The child at home, from birth to age three. Random House: NY.